Kansas Senate, House override Brownback’s veto of rules for firms like Uber

A screenshot of the Uber app in Kansas, as of 3:09 p.m. Tuesday, May 5, 2015.

? Ride-hailing company Uber says it is pulling out of Kansas after the state Legislature overrode Gov. Sam Brownback’s veto of new regulations.

Both legislative chambers on Tuesday comfortably surpassed the two-thirds majority votes needed for the override. The company said in a statement shortly after the House vote that it was ceasing operations in the state. The Uber app also displayed a message saying “KANSAS JUST SHUT DOWN UBER” to Kansas users.

Uber’s statement said it was saddened by the loss of jobs and transportation choice for consumers.

A screenshot of the Uber app in Kansas, as of 3:09 p.m. Tuesday, May 5, 2015.

The measure requires drivers for ride-hailing companies to undergo state background checks and hold additional auto insurance coverage.

Uber connects drivers to riders through a mobile app, and was operating in Wichita and Kansas City.

Lawrence was one of the communities Uber had expanded into following Brownback’s veto of the new regulations. Lawrence city commissioners had said they would need to consider placing local requirements on Uber, if the Kansas legislature didn’t override the veto.

City Hall officials had confirmed that the city’s existing regulations for taxi cab companies did not cover ridesharing companies such as Uber. Prior to Uber’s announcement, city commissioners already had expressed interest in requiring drivers for taxi cabs to undergo background checks. Some city commissioners had said it would be difficult to require taxi cab companies to undergo background checks, but exempt Uber and other ridesharing services from the requirement.

The city likely will consider approving the new regulations for taxi cab companies in the next several weeks.

Brownback released a statement after the House vote Tuesday afternoon.

“As I said when I vetoed this bill, Kansas should be known as a state that welcomes and embraces innovation and the economic growth that comes with it,” Brownback said. “Over-regulation of businesses discourages investment and harms the open and free marketplace. Uber, and other innovative businesses, should be encouraged to operate, grow and create jobs here in Kansas.”

Lawrence-area house members Barbara Ballard, Boog Highberger and John Wilson, all Democrats, and Tom Sloan, a Republican, voted for the override.

— Journal-World reporter Chad Lawhorn contributed to this story